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Choir sing in church in Spain

Fabulous Music Tour to Spain

15th July 2022

For the first time in three years, Oakham School’s fabulous musicians revived our tradition of biennial European music tours in July 2022. Our destination was sunny central Spain – or rather, sweltering central Spain as it basked in a heatwave of 40+ degrees Celsius. Thankfully, our two hotels provided all-important outdoor pools which were much appreciated by the pupils!

Our tour party gave four concerts during in the tour in the fabulous churches and cathedrals of Toledo, Chinchon, Salamanca and Valladolid, many of which offered amazing acoustics. The musical programmes rightly reflected the internationalism of our trip, in part offering Spanish audiences the opportunity to hear some wonderful British choral music by the likes of Parry, Vaughan Williams (marking his 150th anniversary) and Warlock, and even a very new work by Thomas Hewitt Jones composed to mark the Queen’s jubilee. Our tourists embraced Spanish culture too, especially preparing choral music by Javier Busto, Pablo Casals and Victoria, as well as a set of orchestral Spanish dances by Moskowski. Music by great European composers Brahms, Bruckner, Grieg, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Mozart, and a much-loved set of modern arrangements of spirituals completed the bill.

Days 2 to 5 of the tour developed into a regular pattern of morning swims, local lunches, afternoon sight-seeing and shopping, and musical rehearsal before an evening concert. We also got the opportunity to enjoy some stunning scenery en route to our different concert venues. Our audiences were all hugely receptive and appreciative, regularly demanding multiple encores, and our capacity audience in Salamanca’s Old Cathedral was particularly memorable.

The commitment of pupils and staff to making the tour such a musical success was particularly admirable, and it was with both appreciation and a heavy heart that we bade farewell to all our Form 7 leavers and leaving staff at the end of the tour. All our tourists enjoyed an amazing cultural experience, and should take enormous pride in the way they contributed to the post-pandemic revitalisation of live making on an international stage.

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